Skip Navigation


Skip Side Navigation

GeoCarb in Space/ Animation: NextThought Studios

About the Mission

The Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory (GeoCarb), a first-of-its-kind space Earth science mission, will study how and why the global carbon cycle is changing; and monitor plant health and vegetation stress throughout the Americas.


GeoCarb in Space/ Animation: NextThought Studios

A Hosted Payload Approach

The GeoCarb payload will be launched on a commercial communications satellite, employing otherwise unused launch and spacecraft capacity. This innovative approach paves the way for future low-cost Earth-observing missions.


Still of NASA Year of CO2 Video

Advancing Science

More complete measurements are required to distinguish between the various sources and sinks of carbon dioxide. We can enhance current knowledge with millions of daily observations that are possible with a space-based instrument like GeoCarb.


Recent Publications

AMT Journal

A Scanning Strategy Optimizedfor Signal-to-Noise Ratio for the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory (GeoCarb) Instrument

by Jeffrey Nivitanont, Sean M. R. Crowell, and Berrien Moore, III

A scanning strategy is proposed for the upcoming GeoCarb instrument that minimizes predicted retrieval errors of CO2 by optimizing signal-to-noise ratio with respect to air mass factor and solar zenith angle. The strategy is generated using a modified greedy algorithm that optimizes over these stationary processes while also considering operational constraints. This method increases the number of soundings with predicted CO2 retrieval error less than 2 ppm by 18–41 %.

Read More >

ACP Journal

The 2015-2016 Carbon Cycle As Seen from OCO-2 and the Global In Situ Network

by Sean Crowell, et. al

Space-based retrievals of carbon dioxide offer the potential to provide dense data in regions that are sparsely observed by the surface network. We find that flux estimates that are informed by the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) show different character from that inferred using surface measurements in tropical land regions, particularly in Africa, with a much larger total emission and larger amplitude seasonal cycle.

Read More >

Frontiers Journal

The Potential of the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory (GeoCarb) to Provide Multi-scale Constraints on the Carbon Cycle in the Americas

by Berrien Moore, et Al.

In this paper, we introduce the instrument and the GeoCarb Mission, and we demonstrate the potential scientific contribution of the mission through a series of CO2 and CH4 simulation experiments. We find that GeoCarb will be able to constrain emissions at urban to continental spatial scales on weekly to annual time scales. The GeoCarb mission particularly builds upon the Orbiting Carbon Obserevatory-2 (OCO-2), which is flying in Low Earth Orbit.

Read More >

Mission Update

OU Earth Science Mission ‘Geocarb’ Moves Ahead to Major Mission Milestone, Key Decision Point-C

GeoCarb has been approved to move ahead to a critical decision point that will transition the project into the final design and fabrication phase. The review will evaluate detailed mission plans, including instrument configuration, budget and risk factor. The KDP-C has been scheduled for July 18, 2019.



Day in the Life/ Animation: Lockheed Martin
Unlike OCO-2, which passes from pole-to-pole in low earth orbit; the GeoCarb instrument instead will be mounted on a commercial communications satellite and launched into geostationary orbit.

Bringing together Science and Technology

Watching Earth Breathe

GeoCarb will measure the carbon cycle as the Western Hemisphere breathes in and out every day — watching how Earth’s seasons change through the eyes of the biosphere.

Studying Earth's Carbon Cycle from Space

The GeoCarb observatory will provide in unprecedented detail, a record number of high-quality measurements of carbon dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. With these observations, scientists can begin to unravel the many sources and sinks to the carbon cycle.

Learn More >

A New View of the Americas

The unique spectrometer on the observatory will produce daily scans of landmasses in the Western Hemisphere. Shorter revisit times and larger coverage area, made possible by geostationary orbit, will deliver observations of the carbon cycle that are beyond the reach of observatories currently in orbit. 

Monitoring Vegetation Health

Solar Induced Fluorescence (SIF) is a direct indicator of photosynthesis and shows the impact of environmental stressors such as drought - an important measure of ecosystem health.

Learn More >